The Exodus Book of Psalms--Part 7
Mar 27, 2010
The title of this psalm is: "Michkam of David when he fled from Saul in the cave."
The story associated with this psalm is found in 1 Samuel 24, when David was hiding in a cave in the wilderness of Engedi. Saul came looking for him and stopped for the night in the same cave that David and his men were hiding. Apparently, Saul did not bother to explore the cave, so he did not know that David was there.
David had opportunity to kill Saul, but refused to do so. Instead, he cut off Saul's tassel on his robe and showed it to him later in order to prove that he had no intention of killing the Lord's anointed (1 Sam. 24:11). Verses 16 and 17 say,
(16) Now it came about when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" Then Saul lifted up his voice and wept. (17) And he said to David, "You are more righteous than I, for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you."
Saul then makes a remarkable confession in verse 20,
"And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand."
Saul then makes David swear to do his descendants no harm when he would be crowned king. David complied with this, and both then went their separate ways. Even so, however, two chapters later in 1 Samuel 26, we find Saul again pursuing David after his presence was betrayed by the Ziphites (as we noted in our study of Psalm 54).
Psalm 57 starts out with David saying,
(1) . . . my soul takes refuge in Thee, and in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, until destruction passes by.
This is a reference to the cave where David sought refuge (hiding). When Saul came to that same cave, David continued to hide "until destruction passes by." And again, in verse 4, "My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire." This becomes a metaphor for having to live among those who persecute them--and perhaps among those who would consign the overcomers to the "fire" of hell.
David then calls for the glory of God, saying in verses 5 and 11, "Let Thy glory be above all the earth." Here is where David's words reflect the latter half of Exodus 33. Moses, who also dwelt among the church in the wilderness (that often wanted to kill him) asks to see the glory of the Lord.
The question is why Psalm 57 would be placed in the book AFTER Psalm 54. The order is reversed insofar as the chronology is concerned. It is because these stories are being placed to commemorate the events of Exodus 32 and 33.
Psalm 54 = 1 Sam. 24 = Exodus 32
Psalm 57 = 1 Sam. 22 = Exodus 33
Recall that Psalm 51-56 all referred to the story of the golden calf in Exodus 32, each focusing upon a different aspect of that story. Psalm 57 now shifts to Exodus 33 where Moses came off the mount with his face glowing, carrying the second law tablets.
Psalm 51 - Repentance for worshiping the golden calf
Psalm 52 - Aaron a type of Antichrist for making the golden calf
Psalm 53 - The breach caused by their worship of the golden calf
Psalm 54 - Who is on the Lord's side?
Psalm 55 - God's throne usurped by the golden calf
Psalm 56 - Moses' intercession, and God's verdict
Psalm 57 moves on from Exodus 32 to the 33rd chapter, where Moses has a lengthy talk with God. Moses was concerned about the removal of the Angel of His Presence and how this would affect himself as well as the rest of the people.
(13) Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Consider, too, that this nation is Thy people.
(14) And He said, "Shall My Presence go with you, and will I give you rest??"
(15) Then he said to Him, "If Thy Presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here."
(18) Then Moses said, "I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!"
(19) And He said, "I Myself will make all My GOODNESS pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you . . ."
The glory of God is His GOODNESS, not His power or brightness. It is His very character. His goodness is set forth in the simple fact that in spite of the fact that the church in the wilderness was prone to worship the golden calf and to rebel, God was so GOOD and kind to them that He would save them in spite of this. Of course, that salvation would be postponed to a later time (the general resurrection), and yet the FACT of universal salvation is established by the goodness of God.
This same goodness is seen extended to the whole earth in Numbers 14::21,
"but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord."
The whole earth will be filled with the GOODNESS of the Lord, which is His very character, reflected in His purpose for creation. It also includes His power--that is, His ability to accomplish His original purpose for the earth and for mankind. Man's will is not stronger than God's will. Man's sin is not more powerful than God's goodness, nor can man's sin do more than postpone His glory from covering the whole earth. And even then, He purposed the great Creation Jubilee from the beginning, which would end all sin and put all things under His feet. This would be the end of Time itself, for the purpose of Time is to establish the limit to all rebellion on the earth.
And so David sings the praises of God who is Good,
(9) I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to Thee among the nations. (10) For Thy lovingkindness is great to the heavens, and Thy Truth to the clouds. (1) Be exalted above the heavens, O God, Let Thy glory be above all the earth.
In conclusion, we see that David glorified God for turning the heart of Saul, the primary OT type of the Church under Pentecost. By this, Saul came to recognize the right of David to rule. This psalm was built upon Exodus 33, where God showed Moses His glory and revealed it to be His goodness toward the church in the wilderness. Moses face later glowed, proving that the divine presence was in Him, and that he was given the right to lead Israel. And, of course, it speaks of the future as well, where all of this shall come to pass at the manifestation of the sons of God. The Church under Pentecost will finally recognize the right of the overcomers to rule the earth.
This is the seventh part of a series titled "The Exodus Book of Psalms." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones